The War on Roquefort Cheese

February 25th, 2009 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

Subjects:

The tiny village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, nestled at the base of a limestone promontory overlooking a valley not far from Montpellier, has become ground zero in a nasty spat precipitated by George W. Bush days before he packed up and headed for a spider hole in Crawford.

goodwitharugulaThe pristine valley is honeycombed with cravasses and caves that provide a completely unique environment in which ewe’s milk can be fermented just so to become Roquefort cheese, a blue-veined delicacy that some say is lovely with a spot of rye toast and a full-bodied red.

On January 13, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced the Bush administration had leveled a 300% duty on Roquefort cheese, essentially nixing the entire US market.

She said it was in retaliation for the EU ban on imports of hormone-containing US beef.

She added that the administration targeted other scrumdiddly items like French truffles, Italian sparkling water and “fatty livers of ducks and geese,” which last time we checked was foie gras.

But only poor Roquefort got nailed with a duty so steep it might as well be a ban, according to the Washington Post.

“This measure is completely out of proportion,” Robert Glandières told the Post. He’s a sheep farmer and heads of the Regional Federation of Ewe Raisers’ Unions.

“It’s a…provocation.”

Maybe so, but the Roquefort Economy is probably going to be just fine. The US had imported only 450 tons of the stuff per year, or 3% of the amount produced.

Besides, the Big O’s in town now. He knows that Roquefort tastes great on an arugula salad.


 

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